In the era of Twitter, blogs, and podcasts there has been a proliferation of what are often called celebrity pastors, preachers who have either intentionally sought out or unintentionally found themselves with a large platform and audience. Pastors of local churches can become nationally known household names, even recognizable brands, with devoted followers and fans, and as anyone engaged with social media can tell you, sides can be drawn and ugliness can ensue.
This phenomenon is not exclusive to the 21st century. As we see in the first four chapters of First Corinthians it was alive and well in the 1st century, too, even without the internet. The Christians in Corinth were so messed up by it that, of the many big problems Paul seeks to address with this letter (and there are some biggies!), this is the one he starts with. Why?
Because the upside-down values that were fueling their quarreling threatened to undermine the very gospel foundation they were built upon. Paul’s fear was that “the cross of Christ be emptied of its power (1:17)” among them. Their idolizing of preachers and the division and fighting that came from it effectively lied about Christ and made the gospel appear powerless, ineffective, and weak.
Paul will address this issue at length through the first four chapters of his letter. This Sunday we will look at how he begins with First Corinthians 1:10-17. Kenny Clark will be preaching and Ben Sae-Tang will be leading our time of sung worship. Would you pray for each as they prepare?
And pray for our Grace family, that God’s word would work in us as we listen. As we were encouraged by Dr. Paul Felix two Sundays back:
Pray for our minds: “Give us understanding!”
Pray for our feet: “Guide our paths!”
Pray for our hearts: “Incline our hearts!”
Pray for our eyes: “Turn them from worthless things!”
And pray for our emotions: “Lord, confirm your promises!”
See you Sunday. Let’s come hungry!